Erath County commissioners met Monday to handle business that was pending when their regularly-scheduled session was postponed last week as county offices were closed on Columbus Day.

Perhaps the most interesting item on the agenda was approval to go out for bids for a sheriff’s cowboy.

So, like those of us who work at the E-T you’re probably thinking “What the heck is a sheriff’s cowboy and why does the sheriff need one?”

We called Captain Randy Fowler of the Erath County Sheriff’s Department for the answer to that. Here’s what we learned: “When any kind of livestock is roaming loose and posing a danger - or causing a traffic problem and we can’t find the owner - the sheriff’s cowboy is the guy who goes out and rounds the animals up and brings them in. Chad Hale is currently the sheriff’s cowboy and has been for over a decade.”

We contacted Hale by phone who confirmed Fowler’s statement.

”Yes, that’s what I do. I actually work for the state as a trapper, and Erath County is my trapping territory. The county pays the state for my services. Right now, I’m out at Clinton Anderson’s Down Under Horsemanship ranch trapping feral hogs. They’re really doing some damage out here and all over the state.

“But as for being the sheriff’s cowboy, I’ve been at that for about 10 years, and I plan on continuing that if they want me.”

Asked what happens on a livestock call for the sheriff, Hale said, “I go out and rope them or tranquilize them with my dart gun. I have a sled and winch on my truck so I can haul about anything. Once they’re caught, I take them to the sale barn and they keep the animal for up to three weeks trying to locate the owner.”

Other county business commissioners addressed include:

• Approval of the preliminary plat for 4 C’s Rodeo Ranch submitted by owners Gilbert and Julie Carrillo that will include apartments and RV spaces

• Going out for bids for the Pharmacy for Indigent Health Care

• Permission for Precinct 1 to purchase a gooseneck equipment trailer

• Reappointment of Dr. Jeff Moore as Local Health Authority.